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Local News

Grasshoppers Back in the Valley – But Will They Stay?

Credit: iStock

Mohamed Bughrara

Grasshoppers are widespread in the southwest desert, but rainy summers bring abundant plant growth, providing grasshoppers with a banquet and a proper breeding ground to flourish. According to UNLV life science professor Allen Gibbs, after the grasshoppers ran low in nourishment, they went to “the brightest place on the planet.”

More than 45 million insects swarmed the valley in mid-July of 2019. Many residents recorded videos of the flies carpeting the ground around and on the Strip. It used to be that street lights would attract hundreds of grasshoppers. 

The rain fell in the valley in late July rather than the regular spring showers that grasshoppers like, according to Gibbs. 

Meteorologists had to refute doppler radar readings for what seemed to be extensive rain but was really bugs traveling to Las Vegas.

When a grasshopper hatches, it typically goes through five stages as an immature bug. They can’t fly at this point. This stage takes three weeks in warm weather, but up to four weeks in milder weather. They survive for a few weeks to a month after reaching adulthood, “or until a bird eats them,” Gibbs added.

The eggs hatch only when the weather is warm, which is usually in the spring. This increased the time it took grasshoppers to generate numerous generations and build their numbers. Female grasshoppers lay eggs for the winter, and the eggs do not hatch until the weather warms up again.

When temperatures rise over 50 degrees in the spring, grasshoppers can metabolize, allowing them to hop around and transform their food into energy.

Despite the fact that the insects are absolutely safe to people and do not carry illness, nothing appears to be out of the norm on a large scale. Grasshoppers aren’t dangerous; they’re only bothersome with their bouncing and darting around.